Saturday 10th February 2018

North Premier Division


Report by Andy Leach

Disappointment in the Dales

Lymm travelled to Ilkley on Saturday to fulfil a fixture that had previously succumbed to the weather on its scheduled December date. Lymm were hoping to continue their strong league form and consolidate their push for a place in the promotion play-off. Ilkley, on the other hand were looking for a performance to propel them into mid-table safety.

The Ilkley ground sits amidst the stunning North Yorkshire countryside, flanked by its relatively new, impressive and welcoming clubhouse. How Lymm would love to be hosted here in the bright warm days of autumn or spring – instead of the damp, dreary and cold weather of winter, which has been Lymm’s lot for the past 3 seasons!

Whilst there were two enforced absences through the unavailability of regulars Oli Higginson and Rich McEvoy, the Lymm squad was bolstered through the return from injury of Joe Denman. Sam Mullarkey moved from the bench to replace Higginson with Matty Connelly taking his position in the dugout.

Concerns in the lead up, that the match might have been a casualty of the incessant rain that had fallen over recent weeks, was allayed courtesy of the 4 tonnes of sand that the Ilkley grounds team had spread on the pitch earlier in the week. The pitch was playable, although the local assessment was that the going was likely to be “claggy”!

Lymm kicked off playing into the strong breeze and the first half was, pretty much, all Lymm – in terms of possession, field position and the penalty count. In fact, Ilkley did not once get into the Lymm 22 in the first 40 minutes.

Lymm put pressure in Ilkley 5m area

However, Lymm were uncharacteristically “lateral” in their attacking endeavours, something which the resolute Ilkley defence looked relatively comfortable in defending. Lymm did cross the whitewash twice, but were adjudged to have been held up on both occasions and too often, errors or sloppy play served to relieve the Ilkley defence when it looked as if the Lymm pressure might have prevailed. The wind caused Nolan to turn down a couple of penalty opportunities which, in more benign conditions he would have felt were within his range. However, on 35 minutes he did register the only points of the half, converting a 25m attempt from in front of the posts. 0-3.

Half Time: ILKLEY 0 – 3 LYMM.

Although the wind had now dropped considerably and was likely to be less of an advantage to them, Lymm would have been relatively confident in the half-time break, that “more of the same” would ultimately deliver them the points they needed to secure the win. Ilkely clearly had other ideas and the success of their first half defensive efforts combined with their half-time team talk seemed to provide the perfect opportunity to re-assess their approach and reinvigorate their efforts.

The first try came on 45 minutes. An Ilkley clearance kick from defence, fell in no-man’s land between three Lymm players and the chasing Ilkley player dealt better with the bouncing ball to regather and build momentum as the Dalesmen entered the Lymm 22 for the first time. Further yards were gained by the forwards and after a period of pressure on the Lymm line, including an instance of being held up over the line, Ilkley finally made the vital last few inches to ground the ball over the Lymm line sufficiently close to the posts to make the conversion a relative formality. 7-3

Even at 7-3, there was considerable confidence – based on Lymm’s performances in the season thus far – to expect that Lymm would still prevail. However, again errors proved costly allowing Ilkley to defuse the Lymm momentum every time their try line was threatened.

This remained the score until the 65th minute when Ilkley registered their second 7 pointer when a Lymm missed tackle in mid-field allowed the Ilkley scrumhalf to scamper over from around 20m. 14-3

Lymm’s efforts were now focused on trying to secure a losing bonus point but, again their efforts proved insufficient and, with a couple of minutes remaining, Ilkley recorded their third try. This time a strong Ilkley scrum around 22m out, allowed their Number 8 to pick up good, front-foot ball, and power over in the corner, with an excellent conversion completing the scoring for the afternoon. 21-3

Full Time: ILKLEY 21 – 3 LYMM

So, a well deserved win for Ilkley with which no Lymm player or supporter could argue. Lymm failed to register a try or a League point from a match for the first time this season and the result was Ilkley’s biggest win and Lymm’s biggest defeat this season so far. I’m sure that Lymm will be hoping to make a better account of themselves in the return fixture at Crouchley Lane in April.

Lymm will now have to regroup and work out how to rediscover their early season form in time for next Saturday’s fixture at Kirkby Lonsdale.


1) Gav Woods, 2) Dan Horton, 3) Matty Hand, 4) Joe Watson, 5) James Yates,6) Adam Bray(c), 7) Jake Ashall, 8) Sam Mullarkey, 9) Andy Davies, 10) Scott Redfern, 11) Ali Sutherland, 12) James Kimber, 13) Tom Bray, 14) Joe Denman, 15) Cormac Nolan, 16) Aaron Rasheed, 17) Matty Connelly, 18) Tom Shard.

Referee: Mr Thomas Hurdley – North Group

Next Saturday Lymm are away at Kirby Lonsdale, KO 2.15pm



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